Cellmate struck from witness list in murder trial

Defense, prosecution agree convicted drug smuggler lied under oath

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

MIAMI - Prosecutors have decided not to allow one of their key witnesses to return to the stand in the murder trial of Clifford Friend.

Earlier this week, Friend's jailhouse cellmate, Andres Garcia Flores told the court Friend admitted to killing his ex-wife while they were watching a Spanish-language soap opera together April 2. The defense claimed Flores was lying on the stand.

The defense insisted Friend was on a jailhouse phone the entire time the show was on the air, and had phone records to prove it. After spending a day reviewing the phone records, prosecutors asked Judge Teresa Pooler to strike Flores from its witness list Thursday.

The judge accepted the state's motion, and instructed the jury to disregard Flores' entire testimony when they return to court.

Flores will be brought into court later in the afternoon, and the defense is expected to ask him in front of the jury, "Do you recant your testimony?"

The state is expected to pursue perjury charges against Flores, who is in prison for 30 years on an unrelated drug conviction. Flores was looking to cut a deal for less time.

Court has since resumed, with prosecutors calling the lead detective on the case and the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner to the stand.

The defense will then begin presenting its case, and is only expected to call one witness.

The judge said closing arguments will take place Friday.

Friend is accused of killing his ex-wife 20 years ago and dumping her body in the ocean.

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